I sometimes wonder what others must think of me when they read this blog. Especially those that know me on a more personal level and those that have seen the “before and after” me. I used to shake my head at the so called “bible pounders” as if there were something ridiculous about those that had a fervor for sharing scripture. I used to find it excessive that people would listen to only “Christian” music or that their church forbid dancing and alcohol or even caffein…..coffee! (Perish the thought!)
I’ve been labeled as many different things since I accepted Christ and began my relationship with God in all 3 of His persons. Some of which weren’t meant as compliments. Why is it that we still feel the need to label those who seek to live a life that helps them to focus on God?
I believe it comes down to this….are you living a life focused on your faith, or are you living by faith the life that you were meant to live? So many of us are doing the former.
We feel guilty when we don’t go to church or when we don’t spend enough time in prayer. When we hang out with our Christian friends and feel out of place or when our family goes to church functions more than we’re willing to. When we listen to others have casual conversations about Jesus and think how awesome it is that others are so comfortable in saying his name or are able to pray in public. We end up feeling like we’ve fallen short of what we “should” be in God’s eyes. That uncomfortable feeling? That’s our conscience telling us our heart is in the wrong place, and it’s right.
We feel like we have “need to’s” put on us, rather than us just simply wanting to do the right thing because of the love we receive from God every second of every day.
To live a faithful life is so much more fulling.
It’s the ordinary person. The only difference you’ll see is that they surround themselves with those who don’t support the things that go against God’s design. Not that they are completely shut off from those who drink excessively, think divorce is a good option, that believe in pro-choice, that don’t attend church every Sunday, etc. The faithful person simply doesn’t allow those opinions to sway them and can hopefully plant seeds of truth when the opportunity arrises. Not forcefully, but gently and with grace.
The one trying to live a faithful life enjoys a good science fiction novel (I love Anne McCaffrey and Terry Goodkind!) and listening to music like the Beetles. He/she may enjoy a glass of wine or a beer on occasion and goes out dancing with their special someone. They know what is true and what is the imaginings of man.
However, they also enjoy spending time in the word and they enjoy going to church when they’re able. They seek council from close, faith-filled friends because they can trust that they will not be led astray from what glorifies God and what enriches their life and walk with Him.
A faithful life understands that sin occurs constantly, not only in our actions but also in our thoughts and words. It doesn’t mean that we must feel the pressure to confess our sins daily, but it does mean we recognize our sins and we strive to do better as we grow. It’s a life that listens to God and His individual purpose for us. We see what He has blessed us with and we seek to take care of and treasure the gifts we have. Like every good relationship, we communicate regularly with Him through prayer and our good deeds.
I am not the perfect parent, but I strive to be better and I listen for God teaching me how I can be better and how I can point our kids towards Him. I’m not the perfect wife, but, again, I listen for God’s direction and how I need to grow in order to support my husband. I am a person who has not taken the best care of the life I have been given, but I listen for God speaking and how He needs me to heal the areas I have neglected or have allowed lies to influence me.
Faith filled life is entrusted in God’s hands and rests on His promises rather than the ideas of what we feel would help us to appear faithful or to check off things on a to-do list. The to-do list is Old Testament, my friend.
To not deny God or Jesus before others. Not just for fear of being cast off, but because the thought of being cast away from Him breaks our hearts! It’s a life that is lived faithfully because of the precious gift we have been given in Jesus and we want to spend our life praising God for the life free of check lists. A life in which we can simply enjoy the relationship and bring our best into it. A life in which we love God with all of our heart and soul and we strive to love our neighbors as much as we love ourselves. (We love our self a WHOLE lot! We will go to great lengths for the sake of our personal comfort and happiness.)
So, no. I’m not some text book Christian. I’m covered in tattoos, I cuss when I’m super mad or scared (which I’m getting better at not doing), I’m overcoming a life long of learned negative thought patterns, if I weren’t an alcoholic I would probably still enjoy a glass of wine on occasion, I enjoy all sorts of music but mostly classic rock, I go to church regularly but not out of a sense of duty. I go because I enjoy learning and I enjoy spending time with my friends. And I want my kids to grow up, hopefully, with the knowledge of a God who loves them dearly.
A faithful life is as unique as each one of us is, but it is also the same….it’s a life in which our heart and soul sings praises and thanksgiving to the One, in everything we do. It’s not perfect, but it’s being allowed to constantly grow and be shaped by Him. Not by our own translation or idea of what our life should look like.
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